LEARNING CURVE | Electro-coating with integrity and excellence

Angelique Adcock is the owner and MD of Electrocoat, and has seen her business succeed despite tough conditions
DEDICATED TEAM: Angelique Adcock is the owner and MD of Electrocoat, and has seen her business succeed despite tough conditions
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With dedication, determination and persistence, Electrocoat has weathered through the worst business storms.

Owner Angelique Adcock, 48, is passionate and always seeks to motivate others, constantly seeking new opportunities for business and personal growth.

Please share some background on yourself and how the business was started.

I grew up in  Phalaborwa and was a golfing enthusiast.  I was always involved in each business my family owned.

I gained a true insight as to what it took to be a business owner and was also fortunate enough to gain knowledge of every aspect of running a business.

Joe and Gloria Bloem, my parents, saw a gap in the market and built a state-of-the-art electro-coating facility.

I was employed to manage the quality management system of the business.

Today I am the proud owner of Electrocoat.    

What is your core service?

My core service is electro-coating. This is an organic coating method that uses electrical current to deposit paint onto a metal part or an assembled part for the prevention of rust.

What makes your business unique?

Electrocoat has a continuous conveyor system that ensures our efficient turnaround time.

We are also able to electro-coat complex parts without compromising the integrity of its functionality.

Our team is small yet effective, and we can easily communicate between departments and treat each customer with their specific requirement with adequate competence.  

If someone wanted to copy your business model, how would they start?

John Eades says “leaders are learners”.  

Each business is unique and will largely depend on what you are wanting to achieve.  

To follow our business model, you will need to be brave in the pursuit of what you want.

You will need to have evaluated the opportunities, and then be determined, committed and confident that your business will succeed.

You will need to have at least some of your own resources to put on the line and trust that your capabilities will differentiate you from any competitor.

What are some of the biggest inhibitors your business faced before getting off the ground?

The plant was commissioned by the end of 2007 and in 2008 we were faced with an economic recession; you do not get a bigger inhibitor than that.

With long hours, dedication, determination, and persistence, Electrocoat weathered the storm and it proved to be a phenomenal year.  

Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs or new business owners?

Do not wait for everything to be perfect to start, start where you are with what you have.

Educate yourself on what you want to do or be.

Pat Mesiti said: “Who we are today is the result of yesterday’s choices. Who we will be tomorrow is the result of today’s decisions.” 

What are some of your biggest challenges in day-to-day business operations and your particular industry?

Dare I say it, this being Women’s month; but one of the biggest challenges is being a woman in a predominately male-orientated industry.

What is the best advice anyone gave you on success?

 The best advice I was given was to learn to delegate, as this shows trust in your employees and ensures that you can then focus on your own skills.

My business coach, Graeme Reid, reminded me that being great at something does not mean you have to be good at everything — and that is OK!

I was also advised to understand my target market and to be 100% confident in my product.

How do you measure or define success in your business?

Many would define success by turnover alone. Yes, this is an important indicator in business, but I also measure success in my business by my low staff turnover as this is an indication of a committed, contented and dedicated team.

Employees are the heartbeat of a company.

I also believe in the business code of conduct and work ethic that defines the integrity of how things are done.

What are some of the best practices that have made your business successful?

Business consistency is key. Our plant offers extremely high repeatable and reliable results.

We are also partnered with equally high standard, driven and competent service providers like SABS, PPG and Henkel, ensuring quality and performance.

Electrocoat incorporates a set of environmentally responsible parameters that are lead/HAPS free with very low VOCs.

Effective communication for result-based solutions is also instrumental.

 What kind of advertising do you do?

We  recently updated our website; www.electrocoat.co.za,  and had newsletters distributed on the Inkanyezi database. We also have made use of the business chamber and the Eastern Cape Industrial & Business News platforms.  

We are strongly reliant on customer referrals — what better advert than your customer’s satisfaction? 

What is your company’s vision?

Our vision, Beyond 2020, is to remain the leader in electro-coating service and quality excellence, and to advance with the dynamic changes within industries; to collaborate and have invested partners to see the growth opportunities available; training facilities for the unemployed youth  and to then take action in achieving them.    

What is your target market?

Our target market is predominately the automotive sector. We, however, can electro-coat any component that is subject to rust and we are gaining more requests from other industry sectors as our turnaround time remains unmatched.  

What have some of your highlights been in running your business?

Seeing a family-owned company remain strong since 2008, despite the economic challenges and the tough automotive sector.

It has been an absolute privilege to learn and grow with both parents by my side, starting off as just an employee, to then gaining confidence and their trust to afford the responsibility of first a 10% to 50% to 100% shareholder.

The highlights are therefore not just moments in time, but an incredible journey over 12 years.  

How important is social media and an online presence for your business?

Social media and online presence definitely are increasing in value, and any business should see it an important tool.

It is, however, very dependent on what you say and what you present on each social platform.

How many people do you employ?

Thirteen.

 Do you have any plans for expanding the business and how would you go about this?

I do have very exciting plans — just watch this space.  

The key to expanding is by collaborating with like-minded partners.

How did you acquire funding?

The founders of Electrocoat, my parents, had 50% of what was needed to build the electro-coating facility back in 2008.

Business Partners at the time funded the other 50%.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from your business journey so far?

I have learnt so much and continue to learn every day, but the two factors that stand out for me are to not be afraid to ask for assistance and to communicate effectively with my customers.

What have been the greatest challenges and advantages of running your business in a city like PE?

The main challenge is the instability of electricity supply and water availability.

The advantages include that Port Elizabeth is deemed to the automotive capital.

As my company is predominately automotive reliant, this is a great advantage.

I have also had the most amazing opportunities to network; it being a small city where “everyone knows everyone”, you can connect with the most amazing people in person.

I am inspired by phenomenal women in business, and being placed in Port Elizabeth has given me the opportunity to meet these incredible people and inspiring businesses.  

What do you say are the key traits of a successful entrepreneur?

It is understanding that failure is not final, but to see it as feedback, and to have that leap of faith.

What do you say are the key traits of a successful employer?

To be approachable, to show gratitude and empathy towards your employees, and always to have a positive attitude.

What do you wish people knew about your industry?

It is not just automotive components that we can electro-coat.

Electrocoat is also willing to collaborate with other electro-coaters and OEMs [original equipment manufacturers].

Lastly, “you can have any colour, as long as it is black”.

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